On Thursday, August 10, people on American Airlines Flight 5916 had a scary experience. This flight was going from Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina to Gainesville Regional Airport in Florida. The flight data showed that the plane went down about 20,000 feet very quickly – it only took 11 minutes. Specifically, 43 minutes into the journey, the plane plunged 18,600 feet in just six minutes. Flight records from various sources have stated this rapid descent in different ways:
- FlightAware data: The flight dropped almost 20,000 feet within 11 minutes.
- Local report: The flight descended nearly 15,000 feet in just three minutes, later detailing a descent from approximately 30,000 feet to a bit over 10,000 feet in seven minutes.
Passenger’s Firsthand Experience
University of Florida Professor and passenger, Harrison Hove, shared his harrowing ordeal on the social media platform, X (formerly known as Twitter). He depicted a scene of anxiety, describing sensations that photos couldn’t capture, including a burning smell, a loud bang, and the popping of ears. Oxygen masks were deployed, aiding passengers in breathing amidst the chaos.
- Recounting the experience, Hove expressed, “I’ve flown a lot. This was scary. Kudos to our amazing flight crew-cabin staff and pilots on @AmericanAir 5916. Good to be on the ground.”
- “Something failed midflight and depressurized the cabin. The burning smell can apparently be attributed to using the oxygen canisters.”
- The wing flaps were engaged to speedily reduce altitude, ensuring increased oxygen availability in the cabin.
Official Statement from American Airlines
American Airlines, in multiple statements to the media, acknowledged the incident, attributing the sudden drop to a possible pressurization issue. Clarifying further:
- “American Eagle flight 5916, operated by Piedmont Airlines, from Charlotte (CLT) to Gainesville, Florida (GNV) landed safely in GNV on Thursday, August 10. While in flight, the crew received an indication of a possible pressurization issue and immediately and safely descended to a lower altitude.”
- The spokesperson continued, “We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience and thank our team for their professionalism.”
Injuries and Damages
Luckily, even though the passengers were scared and panicked, no one got hurt when the plane suddenly dropped in altitude. The fast response from the flight crew helped to stop any more bad things from happening.
Further Comments and Follow-ups
Media outlets, including FOX Business, reported on the incident, seeking clarifications and comments from American Airlines. At the time of the latest updates, American Airlines had not responded to all individual media requests outside of regular business hours.
This one-off event could cause waves in the whole flight business:
- Security Checks: Other flight companies might do their own safety inspections and checks, making sure their planes are in great shape and their crew is ready for any emergency.
- Regulation Review: Flight authorities, like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), might get involved to look into the event, offering advice or new rules to stop something like this from happening again.
- Trust of Passengers: Events like these can make passengers lose trust. Airlines will have to strengthen their promise of safety, assuring passengers that flying is still one of the safest ways to travel.
Even though the scary event on Flight 5916 must have been really frightening for the people on the plane, the crew’s skills and quick response made sure everyone was safe. It’s probable that they’ll start looking into why the plane lost pressure to stop something like this from happening again in the future.